RATE IT!: Kent area coffee only limited by quantity

Heather Scarlett

Steuart Pruitt of Ravenna takes time to drink an iced tea on the patio of Susan’s Coffee and Tea. CARRIE WICKS | SUMMER KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

   Since I came to college, I have also come to rely on coffee to get me through early classes and late-night study sessions. From espresso to americanos, I’m definitely a fan of coffee. Naturally, I was thrilled to set out to find the best coffee house in town for the third edition of the Summer Kent Stater’s Rate It! Series.

Susan’s Coffee and Tea

Reminiscent of Central Perk, the cafe where the characters of “Friends” would often meet to talk over a cup of coffee, Susan’s was the coffee house I enjoyed the most.

Susan’s Coffee and Tea

Location: 623 E. Main St.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stater rating (out of five): ****

The environment gives off an intellectual feel. It is the type of place where professors and students can come to debate politics, discuss their days or do homework. The architecture also sets a unique mood. As I was sitting and drinking my latte, I felt like I was in a restaurant straight out of the 1800s.

I like Susan’s because it is not over-commercialized the way Starbucks is. While it does have items for sale such as coffee beans and mugs, they are arranged in a decorative way. Starbucks tends to be pushy in the way it markets its products. The outside patio is occupied mostly by smokers, which is not my cup of tea –

or should I say coffee – but the patio area does offer a great view of front campus.

One of my favorite aspects about Susan’s is a chess set built into a table where guests can sit and play. Also, I like that they offer a 10 percent discount if you show your Key to Kent card, and if you buy 10 cups of coffee you receive the 11th one free.

The price of the latte was fair, and I received the same amount as I did at the other coffee houses. Although the sandwiches are all priced reasonably at $5.75, I thought $3.75 was a little much for one slice of cheesecake.

Terry Hanchin, mathematics graduate student, said Susan’s prices are competitive but also feels that most places charge too much for coffee.

The latte I ordered tasted better than the coffee at the other places I visited thanks to a shot of vanilla flavoring. It was rich and creamy, and the foam lasted all the way to the bottom of the cup.

Overall, I chose Susan’s as the best coffee house in Kent because of its unique environment and delicious coffee.

Starbucks

As I walked toward the entrance of Starbucks, two men were playing checkers on the patio, giving me the sense of a casual summer day with no worries.

Starbucks

Location: 436 E. Main St.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Stater rating (out of five): ***

But as I entered Starbucks, the upbeat music and the Hawaiian luau decorations put up to promote their current summer specials, made me feel as though I had entered a truly multicultural atmosphere. The coffee house that is what a “multicultural atmosphere” is.

The ambiance of the first and second floors differ from each other. The music on the first floor had a jungle beat to it, and it gave the floor an upbeat feeling. The second floor felt like a jazz club straight out of New York City.

The latte I ordered at Starbucks was delicious and I could actually feel it “running down my throat,” as Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would say.

On the downside, I paid $3.20 for a medium-sized latte, which seems overpriced to me. Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the good ol’ days when you could get any cup of coffee for 99 cents. Starbucks also feels more commercialized because of the CDs and coffee machines it has for sale.

“The coffee is fantastic, but it’s really loud,” said Katie Hutchison, fourth-year medical student at Ohio University. I agree that Starbucks’ biggest downfall is that it’s very noisy. The music is enjoyable, but it is too loud and makes it hard to hold a conversation.

Wild Goats Cafe

Wild Goats Cafe was pleasant and peaceful and is actually more of a lunch cafe than a coffee house.

Wild Goats Cafe

Location: 319 W. Main St.

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Stater rating (out of five): ****

The tranquil environment is enhanced by the fun, colorful furniture. The dining area is very spacious. Its tables offer far more elbow space than Starbucks and Susan’s, which seem cramped.

The view from the patio is more enjoyable than the roadside view at Starbucks because of the colorful garden and the new Kent Free Library that is being completed across from the caf‚. Modern music plays in the background, but it is still easy to read or hold a conversation because it is played at a low volume.

Wild Goats Cafe has an extensive menu that ranges from Belgian waffles to grilled tropical chicken sandwiches. The latte and coffee prices were the lowest of the three places.

Their lattes are rich with a nutty taste. The drink presentation was also impressive. It was served in a glass mug filled

to the brim and topped with frothy foam with visible steam rising off the top.

Contact general assignment correspondent Heather Scarlett at [email protected]